Monday, September 29, 2008

I didn't used to believe in U.F.O.'s!

It's true. I used to have one or two (maybe three!) fiber projects going at a time. I thought you had to finish them before you could start a new one (I used to think the same thing about books!). Was it a question of duty, or did it simply seem too decadent to indulge more? Whatever it was, it's gone now! Much to my tidy husband's chagrin I'm sure, I started hanging out with a much wider collection of Knitters and Spinners (not to mention reading the Yarn Harlot) during my sabbatical year. One of the many epiphanies I had (O-kay, one of the few, but still, a few epihanies is a heckuvalot better than none!) is that I realized that fiber love, much like familial love, can expand to encompass as many people, I mean projects, as you could ever meet! Now there are U.F.O.'s* flying all over my house.

I think I managed to corral most all of them here. Time to count!

1. Alpaca/Merino/Silk blend. Spun as close to laceweight as I could (first effort ever) using a worsted draw. It's really more like fingering weight. It is intended to become world's largest Elizabeth Zimmermann PI Shawl (which will be my 2nd ever lace project to knit).


2.   Supplies for beaded ornaments. I made a bunch last year and hope to make more this year. I should have looked at the pattern company's name, but you can buy a little kit and then reuse the pattern. They're like little socks you slip over a glass ornament. It sounds a bit tacky, but they're really lovely! Really!

3.  Homespun+FunFur+FiberTrends=irresistable  cuteness

4. Random bulky wooly ends for pot holders.

5. Felt pieces for cloak idea

6.  Kumihimo cord braiding is great to stuff in your purse.  You can do really complicated stuff, but I'm totally satisfied with the basic one which is pretty mindless. I got the kits from Carolina Homespun at the Northwest Regional Spinner's Association (NWRSA) conference last spring.

7.  My sister sent me this cool, renewable, fair trade, etc., BANANA fiber yarn. It's pretty thick and stiff in a way, but really silky smoothy. I'm bound and determined to find a way to make it into a new back for a wonderful old tapestry cat pillow I inherited from our grandmother. Suggestions?

8.  I bought this spindle, made by Janis Thompson and her family at Dyelots.  Some of the fiber too. Some of it I dyed (chartreuse and cadet blue), some she did (green multi). It's my first spindle project, so it's a bit on the bulky side and the whole color repeat plied together definitely pushes the spindle to it's capacity limits! I think it will make some fun soft slippers.

9.  Needlepoint bookmark kit I bought at the Tintagel Castle Ruins in Cornwall, England when I ran out of traveling projects. This was of course in the Spring of '05! I really only have about 2 hours left on this. Needlepoint's just not my favorite I guess.

10. My second spindling project. I took a "different ways to use colored roving / different plying techniques class" from Beki Reis-Montgomery at the NWRSA conference last spring.  Too cool. This will make some crazy socks. Although I love Wearing hand-knit socks, I don't really love sock knitting, but I figure that spinning the wool on a spindle will take so long that I'll hardly ever have to knit them!

11.  This is a gorgeous sweater that Seth's mom knit for him eons ago, but which he never wears because it's too warm, that I would love to steek and turn into a super sweater coat cardigan, if I can get my nerve up.....

12.  My friend and NIA teacher and I got together and did some dying of purply wool. The bag of colorful Romney locks was a gift from Rolly Thompson of Fox Hollow Farm after she won it back after donating it in a raffle at NWRSA. I want to try that wrapped yarn technique that was in SpinOff a few issues back.

13. This is the wool for my hunting jacket concept  (maybe E.Z.'s adult surprise jacket?) that I wrote that giant blog about a few weeks ago.

14.  I had better finish this one quick before my dear friend reads this!  We were in the Beehive Wool Shop in Victoria B.C., Canada when I was oohing and ahhing over a shawl made of a really expensive skein of Handmaiden SeaSilk, and my friend slyly said, "You could knit this for a very dear friend."  I couldn't afford the full skein, but a few months later I found a half sized skein at a shop (I can't remember the name, but it was in a lovely historic home) near the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle.  Almost done. Even the half sized skein is like a million yards!

15. My wonderful mother in law gave me a gift certificate for one of our LYS's (Soft Horizons) for my birthday last year, because I discovered that though I love to spin wool, I really need cotton cardigans for work. The yarn is O-wool Balance (50% organically grown cotton, 50% organically grown merino wool); the pattern is the Bacardi sweater from No Sheep For You. This one I actually managed to put on my Ravelry site (Laurarose).  Of course I can't leave a pattern alone now that I've read E.Z., and I'm trying to make a yoke top....

16. Homespun Navajo/chain plied wool and silk yarn (I even won a 3rd place ribbon for it at The Black Sheep Gathering (in June '07).  I'm trying top down one piece construction as described in Barbar Walker's classic tome (all her books are tomes!) Knitting From The Top.  

Stash storage all tidied up:

Some "Real" fiber addicts have many more U.F.O.'s than this, but I've seen enough of them to be a true believer. I guess I had better stop blogging and get back to stash busting!

*Un-Finished Objects

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Eugene summer

Many of you may have heard of the Eugene Saturday Market. It's a great combination craft fair and farmers' market. You may not realize there is also a smaller, Tuesday market in the same location.
It's more produce oriented, and a lot quieter. I managed to get down there for my last possible visit this year the day before school started to get some flowers to beautify my classroom. Take a guess how much those flower bouquets cost. Wrong! They were huge and they were only $10.00!

Another great place to see flowers in Eugene is the Rose Garden. I wish I could capture the scents. A wide angle lens would help, too. They are lovely individually and taken altogether.

The Rose Garden is located in East Skinner Butte Park just west of Skinner's Butte.

We are very lucky to live quite close to this park and the river.

We even have a great new playground there which is a playful re-creation of old-time Eugene and includes fun water features for the kiddos.

Do come visit sometime!

Friday, September 19, 2008


A knock at the door. I look out and see Ed Alverson, who works for The Nature Conservancy in Eugene, and who is one of my biggest local heros. "I have a question about your planting strip," he says. "Oh, goody," I think, "He noticed all our native plants!" I go out and he points out this plant:
"Do you know what this is?" he queries politely (almost too politely).
"Uhhhh, it's a clematis...some one told me it's a native," I reply cautiously.
"Well, there is a native clematis that is very similar, but it has serrated leaves. This one is very invasive and we're trying to keep it from spreading around Lane County."
"Oh, no! I've been encouraging it!" I cry, much chagrined. I didn't tell him I had even given people seeds for it! Here are some seeds:

It's a lovely evergreen vine with delicate tiny white, delicately scented flowers and beautiful long slender feathery seeds. PULL IT OUT THIS WEEKEND! My apologies if I'm the one who told you to plant it in the first place!

While you're at it, dig up your privets:

Your cotoneasters (spelling?):

and anything else that isn't native, but which makes berries that birds could eat and spread.

While you're at it, if you suddenly have big lovely yellow irises, they're bad as well.

We filled up the whole trailer to overflowing with invasive plants to take to the big commercial composter here (Lane Forest Products) to be sure the seeds would be done in by their higher heat and grinder uppers.

All of our trellises are bare! Luckily the fall rains and planting season should be on the way soon. Does anyone know where we can get some of the NATIVE clematis?